Like countless other corporations, Nike has been subject to worldwide issues with the supply chain. Sneakerheads have likely noticed several delays for high-profile releases, and the sportswear giant has reportedly had to cancel deliveries of spring 2022 products for at least one third-party retail partner.
To help combat the issue and assure customers, Nike has now announced a series of changes to improve its supply chain. A press release lists four key measures the company will be taking, including opening more distribution centers and implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
While Nike has primarily operated out of a single distribution center in Memphis, it’s now expanding its network with regional service centers in Los Angeles; Betheleham, Pennsylvania; and Dallas. In Europe, a new location has opened in Madrid to ease the pressure on its already established hub in Belgium.
What else is new? — Within its distribution centers, Nike is beginning to integrate collaborative robots, aka “cobots” to increase shipping times and allow employees to focus on other tasks. More than 1,000 of the cobots have already begun sorting, packing, and moving products throughout the company’s warehouses.
Nike has also announced more sustainable shipping methods to complement its increasing efforts to make more sustainable product. Use of split packages is being reduced, with a prioritization of pop-up cartons made of 65-percent recycled materials. A ground-only shipping option will also reduce carbon emissions by avoiding air freights, while a no-rush option should allow Nike to ship more efficiently without wasted space.
Nike’s final initiative promises to increase opportunities for career development, training, and volunteering for its employees. A new partnership with the University of Memphis will offer online degree programs focused on personal achievement and career development. After all, as Nike COO Andrew Campion said in a release, “The global supply chain is all about people.”